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Jul 29th, 2019
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Whitney Portal Closed Through June 30th Big Pine 05/30/20 08:35 PM
Originally Posted by Deke
Reading this makes me think that they are closing the trail indefinitely since it's a "high use trail where rescues and recoveries are common." Initially I had thought they planned to open the trail on June 30th. Should I feel confident that my July 24 permits will work out?
Yeah, you should be fine. The trail isn't closed indefinitely, it's just closed in May and June since that's when most of the rescues and recoveries occur. The vast majority of them are caused by inexperienced people who get lost or injured while travelling on snow (glissading down the chute seems to be a common theme in many of the accidents), which becomes a non-issue once the snow melts out at the end of June.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
PCT Hikers" Whitney from backside to Forester Pass Paul 05/30/20 01:40 AM
The video was posted May 29. Great video!!!!!

Guitar Lake to Whitney to Forester Pass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF6WiiJp1d8
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Pack goats?? Bob West 05/29/20 02:41 PM
According to INFS regs:

"Pack and Saddle Stock
Stock includes animals traditionally used for saddle or pack stock, like horse and mule. Other animals like llama, burro, and goats are also considered stock. Dogs are considered pets even if they carry a pack.
• Stock are prohibited, Whitney Portal to Trail Crest.
• Where stock use is allowed, the maximum number is 25.
• In Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon wilderness areas, the number of stock will affect your group size limit and grazing restrictions may apply. Contact the parks.
• Grazing is prohibited: east of Shepherd Pass, Pioneer Basin, Hilgard Meadow.
• Seasonal grazing restrictions apply where grazing is allowed.
• Camping with stock is prohibited east of Shepherd Pass.
• To prevent disease transmission to endangered bighorn sheep use of pack goats is prohibited west of Highway 395 in Inyo National Forest."

It was the use of sheep and goats by the early Sierra Nevada pioneers that caused the extinction of Big Horn Sheep.

Horse and mule packing are strictly regulated by the Forest, including limiting areas where pack stock may leave the trail and where they may graze.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Update: All roads open except Whitney Portal bridamour 05/28/20 02:01 PM
I will know in a week for sure. I've got overnight permits out of Cottonwood Lakes for June 5-7 that were confirmed over phone yesterday. I cannot imagine they would issue permits and not open the road. Permit issuance begins June 1, so road should be open all the way by then if not sooner. This is for Horseshoe Meadows - the wait continues for Whitney Portal.
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Trip Reports Jump to new posts
Re: Mt. Whitney Trip Early June (Open?) Big Pine 05/28/20 04:13 AM
Originally Posted by rralston3
Hey All,

I'm planning to take a trip to hike the mountaineer's route the second week of June. Can anyone tell me if the trail / Whitney portal is open?

Originally Posted by Steve C
Inyo N.F. may not be issuing the required hiking permits by then, and the gate on Whitney Portal Road may still be locked. Currently staying in any campgrounds is strictly prohibited. We are sure hoping it will open things up by the time you go, but that may not be the case.

In case you're interested, someone posted a similar question a few hours ago in the comment section of the USFS Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/inyonf/

"We have June 10th permits for Whitney. Should we assume they will be cancelled? I know you're doing it one week at a time, but if there's very little chance it'd really help to know now."

Response from Inyo National Forest: "We cannot say definitively about June 10th at this point. We understand that makes planning difficult and we are trying to give as much flexibility so that those who can make it on short notice can."

My personal guess is that Whitney will still be closed during the second week of June, but based on the above comment, there is a chance that the road and trail will be open.

Originally Posted by rralston3
Also, I'm coming in a few days early to acclimate to the altitude if you have any other hikes you can recommend to help with that. The plan was to stay at the Whitney portal 2 nights, 2 nights on the trail (coming down the regular Whitney trail, I have permits for both).

The closest high-altitude hikes would be Cottonwood Lakes and Cottonwood Pass, which may be accessed by going down Horseshoe Meadows Rd. The trailhead is at around 10,000'.

Another option would be the Methuselah Trail in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (also around 10,000' elevation), but that's further away to the northeast.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Yosemite Reopening Soon StorminMatt 05/27/20 08:23 PM
Originally Posted by jaym
Originally Posted by bobpickering
Originally Posted by StorminMatt
I wonder if you would need a reservation to park outside the park and do a quick hike up Mount Dana. Or does this only apply to driving in?
As long as you don't walk right up to the entrance station, you should be fine. I would hike the first 100 yards to the east of the park boundary, just to be sure.

I parked at the parking lot on the side of the road before the entrance station. I walked up to the ranger at the entrance station and
asked if I needed to pay to just hike Mt Dana (I was obviously was not thru-hiking) and he said naw just go at it.
If I was hiking with my dog (was taking a guided course the next day), I would do what Bob said and bypass the entrance station.

I’m not too concerned about paying since I have an ATB Pass. It’s more the quotas that would be an issue. Of course, if there are quotas to get in the park, I would also have to contend with making the longer drive on 395 to get to the entrance. But that’s a whole other issue altogether.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
HWY 120 CalTrans gate near Lee Vining is open 123Zero 05/27/20 07:38 PM
I just got off the phone with the CalTrans public relations person. They told me that the lower gate (the CalTrans one) two miles from Lee Vining is open, and you can drive up to the gate to Yosemite National Park from the East. That gate remains closed.This makes North Peak and Conness Ridge accessible. He also told me that 120 will be opening at some point after the park does. He didn't have a firm date, but said that the people at the NP said in a meeting that they're behind schedule cleaning up the road because of COVID-19 issues.

Disclaimer: I have not been up to the CalTrans gate to confirm this. I just heard it on the phone from CalTrans today.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Face Masks?! StorminMatt 05/27/20 02:18 AM
Originally Posted by Hobbes
I hate to be the one to break the news, but there will never be a vaccine. I know, never say never, but as we know there has never been a cold vaccine. The so called annual flu vaccine is nothing more than a guess at seasonal variance.

Um, both the Moderna and Cansino vaccines have been shown to generate antibodies in amounts either similar to or greater than those found in recovered Covid patients. This may not be definitive proof that these vaccines work (these antibodies have not yet been shown to prevent disease). But things are not looking too bad here. And if neither of these efforts work, it is actually very unlikely that none of the MANY other efforts will be effective. Perhaps the biggest unknown at this time is whether a vaccine will be available in time to actually help with this pandemic. But that’s a whole different issue from a vaccine being impossible in the first place.

As for not having a cold vaccine, this has NOTHING to do with a coronavirus vaccine being impossible. The reason for no cold vaccine is that it is not practical. Unlike Covid-19, colds are caused by not one but MANY different viruses. And not JUST coronaviruses, but also rhinovoruses, adenoviruses, influenzaviruses, parainfluenzaviruses, and many others. In other words, it probably isn’t possible to protect someone against a significant fraction of colds without needing several vaccinations. Do you want to get 10 or more shots every year to try to keep from catching a cold or three over the course of the winter? Probably not. I mean, most people don’t even get a flu shot.

So what about SARS and MERS? Both of these are more serious than a mere cold. Yet neither of these has an available vaccine. Why not? SARS basically fizzled out. MERS is still around, but there are very few cases. Because of this, vaccine efforts for both diseases came to a grinding halt. Vaccine makers want to make money from their efforts. And without anyone to sell their vaccines to, it simply wasn’t worth their while to continue.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: JMT key swap for 7/17 start David S. 05/26/20 08:04 PM
My plan would be to leave the other party's car at Whitney Portal, and then hitch down to Lone Pine and up to Horseshoe for our start. We can give each other spare keys just in case we don't cross paths on the trail.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Current Conditions: Mt Whitney Trail Steve C 05/26/20 05:09 AM
I found this picture of the gate on Whitney Portal Road, taken May 16, 2020.

The gate is at the parking lot just past the Hogback Road junction, 3.5 miles from the Mt Whitney Trailhead. Elevation about 6600', so about 1700' vertical elevation below the trailhead. GPS coordinates: 36.5960,-118.2067

[Linked Image]
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Picture Gallery Jump to new posts
Closed gate at Horseshoe Meadows, 5/23/2020 Big Pine 05/25/20 08:24 PM
Taken on Saturday evening, May 23, 2020.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: 14,505 or 14,508 -- Mt Whitney Elevation? SierraNevada 05/22/20 11:59 PM
The Rockies are going to lose a little more than Whitney with these adjustments. The Ranger is not going to like that, Yogi. Not as many 14ers there.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Forum Version Updated MikeH 05/22/20 10:11 PM
Check the timezone setting in the preferences of your profile to be sure it's correct.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: JUNE TRIP EXPERIENCE??? 123Zero 05/21/20 03:16 AM
Exactly. For now. And you can summit as long as you don't camp about LBS.

I've been in contact with the NF folks, and they told me yesterday (05/19/20) that today (05/20/20) they were going to have an important meeting where the main topic would be wilderness passes; namely, when and how they would begin issuing them. These are the passes that allow you to camp off trail. The issuance (and non-issuance) of these passes is key, because Inyo County justifies keeping the lower gates to most of the trails locked because no wilderness passes are being issued. I don't know what happened at the meeting today, but if they came to a decision on issuing permits there will probably be a press release soon. The permits will probably not be issued in person; you'll most likely have apply online, and print one out and bring it with you.

[Personal thoughts on quarantine deleted to keep post civil]
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Face Masks - Recent Studies SierraNevada 05/21/20 12:59 AM
This topic is only tangentially related to climbing Whitney, but I'm starting a fresh thread to present more recent research related to the effectiveness of face masks and the impact mask wearing can have on reducing community spread of COVID. The previous thread on this topic has become contaminated with misinformation from old and misleading studies, and partisan bickering. Let's keep this thread respectful without the conspiracy nonsense. If you think 92,000 Americans dying in a couple months is a conspiracy, please post elsewhere, you're not interested in science.

I spent considerable time on this topic with an engineering perspective and found a lot of irrelevant old research that needs to be called out. For example, one of those links in the other thread referenced a study based on reuse of the same mask for 30 days by hospital workers in a high-risk environment in Asia. Of course even the N95 masks eventually performed poorly under those circumstances. Many of the studies quoted previously are not new research, they summarize a subset of older studies with a variety of results and methods not suited to the COVID virus. Many of these summary reports complain about a lack of research on the topic, and then strongly conclude, "there's no evidence that masks work." Duh, no relevant research, no evidence.

Here are two recent studies demonstrating cloth masks are effective:

1. Argonne National Laboratory, Center for Nanoscale materials. This study looks at a range of particle sizes relevant to this virus using numerous types of masks from N95, surgical, to several homemade types of various fabrics.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252?ref=pdf


2. Northeastern University, this one is so recent its still under peer review. Some of the multi-layer homemade masks with the right fabrics are more than 80% effective, better than surgical masks or commercial dust masks.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.17.20069567v4.full.pdf
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: July 19 permit Steve C 05/18/20 05:25 AM
And there you have the reason to always specify an alternate leader when applying for a permit!!!

The leader could still pick up the permit. (but I can't imagine the leader would want to travel all that way just for that) You might be able to designate an alternate leader when you pick up the permit. Once you have the permit, another person could likely use the slot without any problems.

...although Inyo N.F. might hold fast to the "permits are non-transferable" rule, and just say no. You should call the Wilderness Permit number and see what they say: 760-873-2483
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Any June pass holders have their passes refunded? PeteK. 05/18/20 12:02 AM
I have June 3 so still hoping!
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Mountaineers route 123Zero 05/17/20 09:57 PM
You can climb it as long as you don't get caught.
The avalanche danger next week is real though.

I'd definitely call ahead about that gate though. That hike from the valley to Whitney Portal adds an extra day onto the festivities, which means more food.
One way around the gate is to use an electric or gas-powered bike or scooter to blaze (relatively speaking) up the road to the trailhead. Stash it up there then ride it back down when you're done.
Where there's a will, there's a way.
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Trip Reports Jump to new posts
Re: Mt Whitney Trail Conditions Big Pine 05/17/20 04:57 PM
Originally Posted By Naman
Hi all,
I have a permit for 13th July and would appreciate if someone can give me an insight of the amount of snow on the trail. Is it really bad currently?

No, there's a lot less snow than normal for this time of the year:
https://cdec.water.ca.gov/snowapp/sweq.action

That number will go up a bit after the storm early in the week, but the amount of snow will still be far below average since it's not expected to be a strong storm:
https://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Mount-Whitney/forecasts/4418

Originally Posted By Naman
Hi all,
What do you expect by mid-July? This will be my first time and would help me a lot to plan if I have this information.

No leftover snow, but thunderstorms and hail are likely in the afternoon. Generally, winter storm season is from October - May, and moonsoon season is from July - August. In a light snow year (2014, 2015, 2018, and 2020), you'd want to hike/climb in mid June - early July, after the snow melts and before the monsoon hits. Another good option would be climbing in September after the monsoon but before the first significant winter storms move in.

In a heavy snow year like 2019, the monsoon is usually not as strong or as early as it is in a light snow year, but you'd have to wait longer until the winter snowpack melts. So your climbing window would shift to July instead of June. Of course, the alternate option of climbing in September would work as well.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st bobpickering 05/16/20 02:25 AM
Originally Posted By jimsisco
This version of the announcement does not state that Whitney portal is closed. Only states that the services are closed. Going to need call to validate if you can still get a your pass. Lack of clarity is pretty poor.

They leave three questions unanswered:
1. Are the parking lots closed? I think not.
2. Is the store closed? I’ll bet it is.
3. Can you climb Whitney when the visitor centers are closed and there is no way to pick up a permit? I think you’re out of luck.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Alternate Leader jimsisco 05/16/20 12:26 AM
It's based on the email. Once you add the alt the system will send a email confirmation to the alt to confirm. The alt needs to have a Rec.gov account. Their name will appear once they confirm.
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: July 2 day hike main trail Big Pine 05/15/20 07:13 PM
Unless something very unexpected happens, the answer is "yes" to both. This year's snowpack is below average and seems to roughly match that of 2018, so I'm expecting the switchbacks to be open by mid June:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/53085/When_will_Mt_Whitney_switchbac

The trail head will open in June as well, but it's unknown whether it will be June 1, 7, 15, or June 30:
https://thesheetnews.com/2020/04/24/dont-hit-the-road-jack/

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/56955/Whitney_Portal_Opens_June_1st
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Current Roads Bob West 05/12/20 01:22 PM
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Mountain House Dry Meals Baja Dave 05/06/20 03:18 AM
Scope out :

goodto-go.com
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General Discussion Jump to new posts
Re: Does anyone know if they reopened the parks today? 123Zero 05/04/20 04:17 PM
I thought they might try that. I've gone some alternatives in mind.
The governor is going to speak today on re-opening the state. We'll see what he says. The Bay Area counties announced the relaxing of a bunch of rules this morning, and probably telegraph some of what the governor is going to do.
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